Long ago, Lickitung was one of the first 150 Pokemon. Its main appeal was the fact it was a relatively rare Pokemon to get. In Red and Blue, you had to trade a Slowbro to somebody at the Route 18 Gate House. But, in Pokemon Yellow, you could actually catch one in Cerulean Cave after beating the Elite Four. The trouble is, Lickitung’s stats were never very good, and despite having a good move pool, it didn’t really stand up well to anything.
The major plus to Lickitung in the first and second generation games was that it was a great “HM Slave.” Since you needed several HM moves to complete the game, Lickitung could use Cut, Surf, and Strength. In Generation 2, though (Gold/Silver/Crystal), you could catch one in the wild at Route 44. In the third generation you could only get one in FireRed and LeafGreen the same way you did in Red and Blue. By that point, Lickitung could also learn Rock Smash.
Fortunately for Lickitung, it gained a few important things in Generation 4, Diamond/Pearl & HeartGold/SoulSilver. It gained the use of many more moves, including HM moves like Whirlpool and Rock Climb, but also an evolution in Lickilicky. Fortunately, the new evolution was easy to acquire, simply learn Rollout and level up. In 4th generation, Lickitung learns Rollout at level 33.
While Lickilicky is hardly an amazing Pokemon, and can actually serve the same role as Lickitung, its stats are quite an improvement. Here are its base stats in comparison:
Lickitung: 90 HP, 55 Attack, 75 Defense, 60 Special Attack, 75 Special Defense, 30 Speed
Lickilicky: 110 HP, 85 Attack, 95 Defense, 80 Special Attack, 95 Special Defense, 50 Speed
Jumping forward to Generation 7, HM moves became completely obsolete. In Generation 8, you can even catch a Lickilicky in the wild in the Expansion Pass. Notably, Lickitung becomes a legitimate pokemon when it’s in Dynamax form. The question is, can Lickilicky be a good Pokemon without the need for HM slaves any more?
The answer is, yes, as long as you are good with it being specially defensive. The improved defense, special defense, and HP on Lickilicky make it at least an option even for competitive Pokemon teams. Smogon University suggests a Careful nature for Lickilicky (plus Special Defense, minus Special Attack) with a utility moveset including four of Wish, Protect, Toxic, Heal Bell, and Knock Off. Yes, Lickilicky can learn quite an array of moves by T.M. and T.R. and has decent attack stats, but investing heavily in HP and special defense seems like the best way to go.
Another strategy once used in competitive play involved using Swords Dance to increase its attack by two stages, then using Explosion to trade with an opponent’s Pokemon. It was decent in double battles where your other Pokemon has high physical defense or could use Protect-type Moves. Another option is to use Swords Dance with physical attacks such as Fire Punch, Thunder Punch, and Ice Punch for type coverage, but its stats aren’t quite up to par as an attacker in competitive play.
In any case, it’s nice that Lickilicky made Lickitung a somewhat more valuable Pokemon. While it will always probably be thought of by older players as a favorite HM slave, Lickitung evolving into Lickilicky at least gives you an interesting Pokemon to play with that has plenty of potential options to choose from.
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